I’ve been excited for Skyrim VR since it’s announcement at E3. The idea of actually being immersed in such an expansive open world was thrilling! I was even lucky enough to give it a try during some press events, though I was often left with wanting something more. So, does the full release hold up or is it a nausea-inducing bubble burster? Let’s break it down.
Skyrim is massive! If you haven't had a chance to play through the game yet find yourself a copy and jump in. It's available in some form or another on EVERYTHING! But that it also one of it's downfalls. It has been available for a long time. With rereleases and definitive editions. While there are hours and hours of quests and side quests, an entire open world to explore, Skyrim VR doesn't add anything new story-wise. What it adds is a way to better immerse yourself within those stories.
Character interactions can feel a bit clunky from time to time. Long pauses between responses can really bring you out of the world and keep you grounded in the fact that you are playing a video game. But the fact that you can talk to every character you meet is quite incredible and if you can get past the clunky nature of your interactions you'll really fall into the world.
This game is incredible in VR! Using the move controllers is a must for this game. It takes a while to get used to the controls but once you get your head around the button mapping you become a god! I have played for hours using only the base level fire spell in both hands. Being able to aim in seperate directions and take down enemies like I'm Iron Man. So much fun!
One thing that lets this game down are the graphics. This game feels old and, to be fair, it is. But we've also seen visual upgrades since it's original release. Sadly, the VR version uses the original 360/PS3 era graphics. I get that it must take a lot for such a massive open world game, but when you go from something highly rendered, like Batman Arkham VR to Skyrim VR's clunky pixel world it can be a bit jarring. Mix that with some difficult movement options and you've got a recipe for nausea.
Exploring the massive open worlds of Skyrim can feel truly amazing, and the atmosphere created by the soundtrack really enhances the experience. It goes a long way to help immerse you into the world.
Moving in an open world game in VR was always going to be the challenge that would make or break it. Nothing will ruin your immersion more than feeling like you're moving while you're standing (or sitting) still. Bethesda has come up with two options for players. Teleporting or Walking. I found teleporting to be quite disorienting, often slamming into walls attempting to get closer to enemies. It's also a little game breaking, being able to dart around as quickly as you can just mashing the teleport button. If you don't have access to a full 360 degrees of VR Gaming room you'll also need to use the pivot buttons, allowing you to turn an adjustable degree to your left or right with each touch. The other option is to simply move forward in the direction you point by simply holding the move button. I found this worked a lot better, but due to the speed of the character was still a little disorienting and nausea inducing. Having never experienced nausea from any other VR I would warn everyone to be careful and not play for too long on your first few attempts. Warm into it and find your groove.
I'm of two minds on this score. On one hand I think the game is absolutely amazing! I'm crazy about it! It's been long enough since I've played it that I can truly enjoy all of the adventures laid out before me. But on the other hand the low resolution graphics and the nausea inducing movement options make it hard for me to truly get immersed.
In conclusion, I'm addicted to this game that I can only play in short bursts. I love the potential that this game shows the world. VR is not just about short form, mild interaction, gun range games. You can truly experience different worlds. I'm excited to see what Bethesda can do with this technology next! Guess I better jump into some Doom VFR! Skyrim VR is a great game. If you can look past the graphics and get your head around the movement mechanics you will fall in love with this game and what it offers gamers. Definitely worth experiencing.